The Escape of Lucifer was the successful effort undertaken by the fallen archangel Lucifer to escape from Lucifer's Cage in the aftermath of the release of the Darkness into the world.



In order to kill the Knight of Hell Abaddon, hunter Dean Winchester consented to becoming the bearer of the Mark of Cain.[1] Due to the Mark's influence starting to transform Dean into a rage-fueled monster, his brother Sam began undertaking an effort to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean's arm.[2] Ultimately, using the Book of the Damned, witch Rowena MacLeod was able to perform a spell that removed the Mark of Cain from Dean's arm. However, as a result, the Darkness was released into the world once more.[3]

The release of the Darkness damaged the cage imprisoning the Fallen archangel Lucifer who had once aided God, Michael, Raphael and Gabriel in locking away the Darkness. Seeing this as his chance to escape, Lucifer began using the damage to the Cage to reach out and implant visions in Sam's mind of Sam in the Cage and visions of the Cage itself to lure Sam back. Lucifer went so far as to use the form of a young John Winchester to communicate with Sam directly in his efforts. Lucifer also began communicating with Rowena in her dreams, promising Rowena a place at his side as his Queen if Rowena would held him escape from the Cage. Sam came to believe the visions were from God and meant that he had to return to the Cage and talk to Lucifer as the answer to defeating the Darkness was with him. Dean refused to believe in this however, feeling that even if Lucifer could help, it was a bad idea to try.[4][5][6][7][8]


Following another vision in which Sam is in Lucifer's Cage and Lucifer touches him causing Sam to only feel calm, Sam becomes more insistent on visiting Lucifer, particularly after seeing a burning bush and taking it as a sign. Sam insists to a reluctant Dean that the visions are from God and as Lucifer helped lock the Darkness away the first time, he could potentially know how to do so again.

Eventually, Sam gets Dean to agree to see if the idea is possible and they approach the King of Hell Crowley to tell him about the visions and ask if its theoretically possible. Crowley refuses due to the dangers of Lucifer escaping into the world, causing the Winchesters to remind Crowley that he had the Darkness and instead of killing her when he had the chance, he sucked up to her for power. Dean informs Crowley that the Darkness is God's sister, but refuses to let Sam meet with Lucifer in the Cage itself, instead asking for a safer option. Crowley finally admits that there might be a way. Crowley explains to the Winchesters that they can't let Sam enter the Cage itself as he will be gone forever if he faces Lucifer there. Instead, Crowley suggests setting up a neutral location in Hell that they can control to meet with Lucifer in. However, while Crowley can arrange a transit into Hell for the Winchesters, opening the Cage itself is a lot more difficult as it was sealed by God himself. Crowley tells the Winchesters he thinks that he thinks the information they need on the Cage along with the spells needed to ward Sam can be found in the Book of the Damned.

In order to gain access to the Book of the Damned, Crowley has his demons capture Rowena. The Winchesters explain that they need to work together to lock the Darkness back up which was released when Rowena removed the Mark of Cain. Crowley admits that they don't know that they can trust each other, but they also don't have much of a choice and that "its a Devil's bargain." The Winchesters fill Rowena in on the Darkness, amusing her with the fact that the Darkness is God's sister. In exchange for Rowena's help, Crowley promises to call off his assassins so she doesn't have to watch her back anymore. Rowena reminds the three that she will need access to Nadia's Codex and Charlie's decoder to use the Book of the Damned and the Winchesters promise her limited, supervised access and explain that they need to know how to open the Cage and how to protect Sam once it is open. Rowena questions them on what is in the Cage that is so dangerous and is amused to hear that it's Lucifer. She then agrees to help them open the Cage.

The Winchesters move Rowena to the Men of Letters bunker where she searches through the Book of the Damned for the information they need watched by Sam while Dean investigates a massacre committed by the Darkness. Rowena eventually finds what they need and tells Sam they need to contact Crowley and let him know they are ready as well as to gather some ingredients. After getting what they need and contacting Crowley, Sam attempts to call Dean, but is unable to reach him as Dean has found the Darkness. Rowena insists on them going immediately now that everything is in place despite Sam's reluctance. Sam finally agrees to go without Dean.

Crowley leads Sam and Rowena to a smaller cage in Limbo, the furthest reaches of Hell. There, they lay down holy oil around the cage and Rowena puts up warding on the cage itself. Once everything is set, Rowena casts the spell to summon Lucifer into the smaller cage, first activating the warding and holy fire. The spell causes Lucifer to manifest in the cage, appearing in the form of his old vessel Nick. After greeting Crowley, Lucifer asks what they want of him and Sam steps forward to explain, to Lucifer's amusement.

Sam asks if Lucifer knows about the Darkness and Lucifer admits he does, telling Sam that the Darkness was locked away eons ago. Sam tells Lucifer how the Darkness is back and is a threat to everything, including Lucifer. After Sam dodges Lucifer's question of how the Darkness escaped, Lucifer questions God's location. Sam reluctantly tells Lucifer that there's no sign of God's presence, but that God has recently reached out to Sam and told him to seek out Lucifer, amusing Lucifer greatly. Lucifer recognizes the threat the Darkness poses, telling Sam that she is equal to God in raw power, but not in strategy.

Lucifer claims that God needed his help the first time to defeat the Darkness and has sent Sam to Lucifer as he will need Lucifer's help again. Lucifer tells Sam that he needs a vessel to leave and he wants Sam to say "yes" again and become that vessel so that Lucifer can fight the Darkness as without a vessel, Lucifer is formless on Earth. Sam finds the idea of letting Lucifer use his body to be free on Earth again insane while Lucifer insists that its the only way and that Sam's visions are the word of God and he can't say no to them. After some consideration, Sam refuses feeling that there has to be another way.

Suddenly, the warding on the cage fails and the holy fire goes out. As Crowley demands to know what happened, Rowena leads him away. Lucifer teleports Sam into the cage with him where Sam remains calm, stating that God showed him that this is what would happen in his visions and he just needs to play his hand. However, Lucifer tells Sam that the release of the Darkness had a massive impact on Hell and damaged Lucifer's Cage enough that Lucifer was able to reach out through the fissures. Lucifer reveals to a horrified Sam that the visions were always from Lucifer and not God as Sam believed. Lucifer tells Sam that Lucifer is his only hope now and taunts Sam about being trapped with him.[7]

Sam confronts Lucifer about sending him the visions which Lucifer is proud of himself about. He also admits to Rowena's involvement in the matter, calling Rowena a "groupie" and stating that she just did what she was told. Sam expects Lucifer to torture him into saying "yes" and promises to resist Lucifer until Dean arrives to rescue him. Lucifer is amused that Sam is counting on Dean to get him out and states that he has no intention of torturing Sam or even harming him, surprising Sam. Instead, Lucifer is going to prove to Sam that Sam needs him.

At the same time, Crowley confronts Rowena over her betrayal and Rowena is unrepentant for her actions, even when Crowley strangles her. Rowena questions whether Crowley is willing to stake his life on Sam and tells him that she has been working for Lucifer since Lucifer approached her in a dream. Crowley points out that the last time Lucifer was free, he wanted to destroy everything in existence, but Rowena insists that Lucifer has changed. Rowena tells Crowley that once Lucifer defeats the Darkness he will ascend to the throne of Heaven and she will be his queen. Rowena believes that since Lucifer defeated the Darkness once before he can do it again and orders Crowley to let Lucifer work.

Lucifer touches his hand to Sam's head and brings them into Sam's memories, to one of when he was a teenager and made out with a girl he was studying with. Lucifer explains to Sam that he chose the memory as it shows the Sam Lucifer remembers, someone who is bold and decisive. Lucifer tells Sam that Sam used to be a hero and even defeated Lucifer, but Lucifer no longer recognizes him.

After an attack by the angels on the Darkness, Dean returns to the bunker to find Sam gone. Crowley calls Dean and informs him that Sam is in Hell with Lucifer. Crowley directs Dean to an address in Kenesaw, Nebraska where he can get into Hell. At the address Crowley gave him, Dean leaves Castiel a voicemail asking for his help since he's heading into Hell. After giving the password, Dean is greeted by the Reaper Billie who is guarding an entrance to Hell for Crowley. Dean recognizes Billie's name and she explains that in the current times, its useful to have Crowley owe her a favor. Billie supplies Dean with a box for Crowley before sending him through the door into Hell.

Next Lucifer takes Sam into a memory of Sam at Stull Cemetery sacrificing himself to send Lucifer back to his Cage. Lucifer admits that while he doesn't like Sam, he respects Sam for going toe-to-toe with him and winning. As they watch Sam sacrifice himself to send Lucifer and Michael to the Cage, Lucifer tells Sam that in that moment, Sam had been willing to do the hard thing to save the world, but Sam has gone soft and is no longer that person.

Lucifer then takes Sam to a memory of Sam and Amelia Richardson. Lucifer tells Sam that this is the point where it all changed for Sam and that its the worst thing he's ever done. Lucifer explains that after the defeat of the Leviathans when Dean was trapped in Purgatory, Sam was living a normal life "with a girl and a dog" and he didn't even bother trying to find Dean. Sam tells Lucifer that he and Dean always promised each other not to look for each other, but Lucifer points out that Dean came back and Sam isn't fine. Lucifer reminds Sam that the old Sam that had defeated Lucifer would never have allowed Dean to talk him out of closing the Gates of Hell. Lucifer also points out Sam's efforts to remove the Mark of Cain despite knowing that something would go wrong.

Lucifer tells Sam that his and Dean's willingness to do anything to save each other is the problem as Sam is so overcome by guilt over abandoning Dean for Amelia that he can't stand to lose him again and Dean could never lose Sam either. Lucifer angrily tells Sam that instead of choosing the world, the Winchesters choose each other no matter how many innocent people die. Despite Sam pointing out the hypocrisy of Lucifer lecturing him on hurting people, Lucifer tells Sam that Sam knows he's right and that Lucifer knows the only way Sam is going to be able to beat the Darkness is if he's willing to die and is willing to let the people he loves die. "A long time ago you could've fought the good fight kid but... not anymore. You can't win this one Sam, your just not strong enough." Lucifer concludes. Lucifer insists that he is strong enough to win however.

As tea is served to Crowley and Rowena, Crowley departs to meet with Dean, not noticing Rowena slip a hex bag into his pocket. Crowley reassures Dean that Lucifer is unlikely to kill Sam as Lucifer needs him and states that they need to focus their efforts on Rowena who they need to lock Lucifer away again. Crowley reveals that the object Billie gave to Dean is a witchcatcher that they can use to compel Rowena to help them. Returning to Rowena, Crowley learns of the hex bag she slipped into his pocket and used to spy on his conversation with Dean. Crowley, however, had Rowena's tea drugged and the effects allow Dean to put the witchcatcher on Rowena, placing her under Crowley's control.

Leaving Sam's mind, Lucifer makes it clear to Sam that he wants Sam to say "yes" and allow Lucifer to possess him. Lucifer tells Sam that he is all Sam has: God has left with no apparent intention of coming back, Raphael and Gabriel are dead and Michael has been driven insane by being trapped in the Cage. Lucifer freely admits that he's not the good guy, but the Darkness is the end of everything and Lucifer can beat her if Sam allows Lucifer to take him as a vessel. Despite Lucifer's attempts at convincing him, Sam refuses to say "yes." Sam admits that Lucifer nearly had him convinced a few times, but he realized that its unlikely Lucifer can defeat the Darkness since it took all four angels and God the last time and even if he does, he'll likely just try to restart the Apocalypse. "I think that whoever wins, you or the Darkness, everyone else loses. So no. My answer is no." Sam tells Lucifer that he has faith that he and his friends and family will find a way to win. "I'm ready to die and I'm ready to watch people I love die. But I'm not ready to be your bitch." Having failed to convince Sam through reasoning, Lucifer begins beating on Sam to force him to say "yes."

At the same time, Dean, Crowley and Rowena prepare the spell to send Lucifer back to the Cage. Rowena warns Dean and Crowley that the spell won't work if Sam says "yes" because a vessel will anchor him to the Earth. At that moment, Castiel arrives to tell them that the Darkness is alive and has burned the words "I am coming" into Castiel's chest.

Hearing Sam's screams as Lucifer begins beating on him, Dean and Castiel rush to his aid. Lucifer teleports the two into the Cage, amused by their interference. As Castiel attempts to fight Lucifer, Dean tells Sam they only have to hold Lucifer off for a few minutes. Lucifer insists to Castiel that only he can defeat the Darkness and that Castiel knows he's right. The Winchesters and Castiel engage Lucifer in hand-to-hand combat, but even together the two hunters and the Seraphim prove to be no match for the Fallen archangel. Lucifer eventually pins Dean by the throat to the wall of the cage and threatens to kill him if Sam doesn't say "yes", but is tackled off of Dean by Castiel. Lucifer beats Castiel down and prepares to kill him. Castiel asks if Lucifer can truly defeat the Darkness, something Lucifer confirms. "Then yes" responds Castiel. At the same moment Rowena completes the reversal spell, Lucifer possesses Castiel. To the Winchesters, Lucifer is apparently sent back to the Cage while Lucifer instead now has Castiel as his vessel.

Lucifer reveals his possession of Castiel

Lucifer reveals his possession of Castiel.

Crowley chooses to keep Rowena with him, controlled by the witchcatcher while he orders the Winchesters and "Castiel" out of Hell. The Winchesters depart, believing that they failed to achieve anything except to keep Lucifer locked in the Cage. Lucifer returns to Crowley's throne room in Hell where he reveals his possession of Casitel which allowed him to escape the effects of the reversal spell. Lucifer telekinetically flings Crowley across the room and removes the witchcatcher from Rowena. Lucifer promises to reward Rowena, but first checks that she is the only one that can open the Cage. Once Rowena has confirmed this, Lucifer snaps Rowena's neck, killing her, before turning his attention to Crowley.[8]


Following his escape, Lucifer retook control of Hell and turned Crowley into his "dog."[9][10] Lucifer also maintained the guise of Castiel to the Winchesters for some time, using his new vessel to keep close to his enemies and use them in secret to help fight the Darkness with the Winchesters continuing to believe that Lucifer was still locked in the Cage. However, the truth about Lucifer's escape came out when Lucifer revealed himself to Sam during their efforts to find a Hand of God.[9][11] Rowena was also believed to be dead by everyone, but was resurrected by a Resurrection Seal she put into place long ago.[12]

After learning of Lucifer's possession of Castiel, the Winchesters worked with Crowley and Rowena in an effort to expel Lucifer from Castiel and send him back to the Cage. After the attempt resulted in failure and Lucifer's capture by the Darkness,[12] the Winchesters rescued him[13] and allied with Lucifer and God against the Darkness. During a failed attempt to lock the Darkness away again, Lucifer was exorcised out of Castiel by the Darkness.[14]

After the departure of the Darkness and God, Lucifer returned to his old ways and the Winchesters, Crowley and Rowena once more endeavored to return him to the Cage. Their effort was apparently successful,[15] but in truth Lucifer was returned to the vessel of Nick and became Crowley's prisoner.[16] He was ultimately trapped in an alternate universe by the Winchesters and Crowley,[17] although he has since managed to escape, albeit with his grace partially extracted.[18] Lucifer was eventually killed in battle by Dean with an archangel blade while Dean acted as a vessel for an alternate reality Michael who powered Dean for the battle.[19]


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